In Israel-Hamas Talks, a Troubling Snag With Hostages

Hamas may not have the requested 40 living hostages who are women or older men
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2024 10:15 AM CDT
In New Ceasefire Offer, a Troubling Hostages Snag
Aviva Siegel, a released hostage, with her daughter Elan, speaks during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Sunday, April 7, 2024. Elan is holding a photograph of her father, who was abducted by Hamas militants on Oct. 7, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A ceasefire deal being negotiated between Israel and Hamas calls on the latter group to release 40 living hostages who are women, men over 50, or people with serious medical problems. However, in a potentially grim development, Hamas says it doesn't have that many hostages in those categories, reports CNN. As the BBC notes, that raises the possibility that "many more hostages than previously thought have died or that they could be in the hands of other armed groups, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad." It was not immediately clear how many hostages in those three categories were thought to exist.

Israeli officials view the Hamas count as accurate, reports Axios, and are asking that the group make up the shortfall—thought to be in the single digits—from the remaining group of young male hostages, including soldiers. Israeli authorities have said about 100 people remain captive, and another 30 bodies are being held by Hamas. In exchange for the release of hostages, Israel would release 900 Palestinian prisoners. Hamas is still considering the latest proposal put forth by the US and is expected to respond soon to Qatari and Egyptian mediators. "The ball is in Hamas' court and the world is watching to see what it will do," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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